Whole Being Weekend
September 9–11 in Idyllwild

Gabrielle Lennon had such a good time last year at the Whole Being Weekend, we thought everyone might enjoy hearing what kinds of things are available to revelers who attend these delightful once-a-year events for adults and children of all ages!ition to come to the West.

Question: Where can you vacation in the gorgeous San Jacinto mountains all weekend, eat delectable organic vegetarian food, take classes on facets of mind-body-spirit health all day, and attend multiple concerts and dance jams at night? Hint: This event also allows us to bathe ourselves in love from the inside and out, and be a flower child in all the healthy ways.

The Whole Being Weekend is the answer. It's held every September in Idyllwild, CA. This year's festivity will take place on the weekend of September 9 to 11. The experience of Whole Being Weekend can be life-changing. Whether it revolutionizes people's lives permanently, because the classes often impart life-altering information and practices, or whether someone's life is relaxed and blissful for the weekend only, most people get at least a taste of transformation.

For those who attend, the tension of the cities evaporates in the warmth of the connectedness, reflected in the way city dwellers often drive into the parking lot on Friday (aghrr) and out Sunday (ahhh, mmmm, la, la, la). Tension vanishes; hearts open.

Last year at Buckhorn Camp in Idyllwild, Friday began with a dinner of lentil veggie soup, whole grain rolls, and organic salads. Then came Dancing With Peggy Sue. Take off your corporate uniforms if you wish, and don your hippie garb. Tie-dyed dresses from gentle watercolors to iridescent abound. You are entering Hippie-fest Heaven. Peggy Sue leads this introductory mixer every year. Movement flows from goofy chicken dances to fun folk dances; from dancing fast and loud to dancing inside while staying still, enjoying presentness and Beingness. Last year, all the dancers formed a huge massage line when “Shower the People You Love With Love” played. Soon people felt relaxed and connected. Then they broke into groups of eight for the “Create Your World” activity. Each person in each group got a turn to ask the other group members for whatever they wanted. Most people requested that everyone in their group simultaneously massage them. (Need I say more?) Friday ended with people dancing deep into the night.

Saturday began with a scrumptious vegan breakfast, followed by presentations from those who were teaching a class during the weekend. All instructors volunteer their time. (Everyone at Whole Being Weekend pitches in with everything, from cooking and cleaning to teaching, which keeps the price of the weekend—room, board, and all activities—incredibly reasonable. There are also day rates. “Kitchen Angels,” as their name tags proclaim, help in the kitchen, “Parking Angels” help with the parking, and “All Around Angels” help with everything else.)

All day Saturday and half the day Sunday, participants chose from a plethora of fascinating classes about mind-body-spirit health. There were also massage tables set up where massage therapists offered free massage. (Massage junkies, welcome!) Booths selling wonderful new age paraphernalia like Tibetan singing bowls, crystals, and velvet fringed and tie-dyed clothing, abounded.

Workshop teachers introduced their classes Saturday morning. Those on aspects of physical health included Healing Outside the Box; Healing Chakras with Crystals; Thai Massage; Somic Geometry; Tibetan-Bowl Sound Healing; and Awakening the Healer Within. Also available were workshops on Acupuncture; Chinese Herbal Medicine; Mod Pod God Squad (to be explained later); Healthy Eating with a Vegetarian/vegan Chef; Foot Ecstasy (reflexology and foot massage); and Hormones; as well as Stress-reduction workshops. And, of course, there was the one on Intestinal Success. The introductory presentation to this one included an intestinal rap song as part of the presentation. The instructors of this workshop quipped, “What causes gas and how to make it pass permanently.” The MC then encapsulated: “Workshops on everything from nonviolent communication to communication about everything.”

Spiritual workshops included Reprogramming Ourselves to Live Joyfully; UFO Information; a Divinity Workout; Getting and Staying in Our Wholeness; Chi gong Meditation; and a Spirit Walk. For lovers of the Arts, there were delightful sessions on Dances of Universal Peace; Life Drawing; Belly Dancing; Sufi Dancing; Incorporation Chi gong with Music; plus a Drumming Circle, and the Children's Art and Puppet Workshop with Story time.

One could improve relationships with “Words Men Need To Know and Women Want To Hear.” Or one could try a Tantra Puja; Releasing a Person (a grief workshop); Spiritual Dating; Nonviolent Communication (totally amazing and transformative); and Relationships.

Business skills could blossom with How to Manifest Prosperity; Abundance Using Your Mind; Hypnosis; or Spirit of a Business.

Workshops dealing with community included one on the Peace Corps and another on Creating Intentional Communities.

I attended four workshops. The first was titled “Letting Go of a Person,” a grief workshop, taught by Kathryn Alice, RScP. We did a powerful guided meditation, during which we let go of someone whose loss we were grieving. Then Alice gave students tools for continuing the process. She suggested letting go day by day, moment by moment; focusing on oneself, one's life, and one's vision for his/her life—how one intends life to be. She also recommended focusing on and healing one's pain body. (Referred to in the book called The Power of Now , the pain body consists of the built-up wounds of a lifetime that need healing.) “We can release this pain body,” Alice said, “by letting it come up for healing, doing the work to address and release the pain, and then by not re-injuring ourselves—through thinking differently and by living in a world that's full of love and not attack. It is very necessary to allow one's self space for grieving, and even a dark night of the soul, as the pain comes up. Many people anesthetize their pain through addictions and such, so it has never had a chance to come up, be felt, and then released.”

The next workshop I attended was “Marketing: Business with Spirituality,” taught by Patrice Amore. “Believe you have everything you need inside yourself to be successful,” she said. Then she talked about being “source-sufficient” (versus self-sufficient)—always coming from source. Amore covered practical topics such as networking and wardrobe tips, then returned to the spiritual focus. “What is important,” she emphasized, “is what we are doing energetically so we can take on anything. Be the model of being kind and loving. Be the most centered and conscious. In the darkness, if there is one candle lit, the room will be lit.” She encouraged doing things in one's private time to enable one to hold the light in any circumstance.

She also talked about how we are powerful beyond our imaginations, but many of us have a fear of failure, which is really fear of success and stepping into our power. “We have fear that if we manifest our highest good, our dreams, our potential, we'll be rejected by the sixty-seven percent of the population that has low self-esteem. The transition may be rocky, but then they'll want to know what you did.” Amore said, “The damage and stress on your mind and body is bigger than whatever you'll experience when you step out of the closet—the freedom like you are flying with the eagles—the power you feel when you step into the truth.” She said our highest purpose is about service, and that prosperity comes from staying connected to one's highest self, and “doing the things you think are beyond you that you are told by your angels to do.” Amore said many people need to clear out their fear and hopelessness so they can step out of their own way and be in their power. She encouraged people to follow their highest guidance, bring their spirit to their work, and get paid unlimited abundance for doing what they love to do.

The Sufi Dancing class was excellent as well. Each person had a chance to dance with every other person in a special type of circle rotation. People looked into each other's eyes during these simple dances and songs, and by the end each person felt like he or she had experienced a heart-to-heart bond with each other person in the room. The essence of the prayer that was said during the lesson, “May all beings in all worlds be happy. May all beings in all worlds be at peace,” definitely started in that class, with potential to ripple outward.

“The Tantra Puja” was another ceremony of love, but more romantic. Francoise Ginsberg, the instructor, described it as “exercises expanding our ability to stay in love—playful and romantic.” Participants had the option of mixing with others or of staying with one partner for all the exercises.

And, Oh, the “Mod Pod God Squad.” What a workshop. This was a guided meditation massage where participants divided into tables of six. Each person had a chance to (fully clothed) receive massage by five people at once. Beyond Bliss.

Saturday night there were concerts to attend. The biggest was Karl and Jean Anthony's band singing lyrics about love with a beat, which everyone could sing together. Jean translated the songs simultaneously into American Sign Language. There were also concerts by Aliah Selah, Mama Christy and Sage, and Elivia Melodey and Her Crystal Bowl Ensemble.

The weekend ended, as it always does, with the “Closing Circle” and the “Angel Wash.” Everyone picked a partner, and each person had a turn closing his or her eyes and being led to smell and touch grass, trees, stones, other people, whatever the leading partner considered a gift. This has led to unexpected transformation, as long-time participant Fiona Markowitz described. “I always worried about how I looked, and was always afraid of gaining weight. So I loved the exercise where you shut your eyes because one of the most sensual women I ever met was externally very overweight. I felt her wrinkles and her flesh—and she felt beautiful.” Then everyone formed groups of two parallel lines. The person in front walked between the two lines, as everyone whispered loving things about them in their ears, stroked their hair, and showered them with love. Each person had a turn to receive this gift of love, and numerous chances to give it.

About the weekend in general, Markowitz said, “I think it was the true opening of everybody—so much opening. The weekend gives people the opportunity to not look at each other judgmentally, but to look at and feel each other—based on our humanity. I don't even know what these people do for a living. I relate to them from a loving, human place.” She continued, “Whole Being gives people a chance to relate to each other in a completely different way—just being together and accepting one another.”

Lili Rincon and Joni Pradetto concurred. Rincon described the weekend as, “Tears of transformation—an eternal energy that stays with the cells. I feel more willing to smile and hug—I feel like a brother and sister to everyone, much more patient with people's adversity.”

For Pradetto the weekend was, “Open heart, loving spaces with no fear of expressing, being real and touching your emotions.”

Sparrow described the weekend as, “A place people can come where they're all equal, regardless of gender or race. It's like going home once a year.”

How does one describe water? Molecularly, how it tastes, how it feels to drink it when we're parched? How it streams over our bodies when we do the backstroke in a lake surrounded by mountains and sky? The Whole Being Weekend is like water, in that one has to go to the event to know how the experience feels. I wish the world could be like Whole Being Weekend.

For More Information on the Whole Being Weekend please call______________or visit the website: ___________ _____